"For the team, at the moment it is very difficult. It is not an excellence in competitiveness, in Formula One, but the brand is very strong in the world" - Flavio Briatore.
Apr.9 (GMM) While Ferrari's global brand remains strong, the health of the Maranello based Formula One team is less impressive.
That is the view of former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore, who was asked by Italian Radio 105 if he thinks Ferrari still stands for "excellence".
"The brand is an excellence," the 63-year-old former Renault and Benetton boss said.
"For the team, at the moment it is very difficult. It is not an excellence in competitiveness, in Formula One, but the brand is very strong in the world," Briatore added.
Indeed, it is now more than six years since Kimi Raikkonen won the 2007 title, and 2014 is the fifth Ferrari campaign since F1's highest paid driver, Fernando Alonso, joined the Maranello team.
"The fear is rising within (team boss Stefano) Domenicali that the situation will not change," Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport commented on Tuesday.
Speculation Spaniard Alonso could return to McLaren to replace Jenson Button and lead the British team's new Honda era from 2015 is now increasing by the day.
"Eight years on since Fernando's last title," Gazzetta added, "how could he be stopped from moving to another team?"
Alonso was quoted in Bahrain last weekend as admitting he expected to join Ferrari in 2010 and add a third title to his tally relatively quickly.
He finished the Bahrain Grand Prix just ninth.
"This result speaks the truth," Alonso is now quoted as saying. "Currently we are only the fifth best team in the championship.
"The truth is that this result is what we are capable of," the German news agency SID quotes him as saying.